The World's Scariest Airport Landings

The World's Scariest Airport Landings

Whether that’s because the runway ends in a steep cliff, the area is prone to intense turbulence, or the runway itself is made of fragile, meltable ice, these airports test the limits of even the most cool, calm, and collected traveler. Take a look at the world's scariest airport landings.

Isle of Barra, Scotland

Not so much a touchdown but splashdown at the world's only beach airport for scheduled flights. Flight times are dictated by the tide and the 'runway' is washed away each evening.

Skiathos, Greece

With the unofficial title "the St Maarten of Greece" the runway on tiny Skiathos Island is so short that right up to touch-down it looks as if the plane might just land in the sea. Consequently it is a popular place for plane spotting, which is great, as long as everything goes to plan.

Paro, Bhutan

Surrounded by the towering peaks of the Himalayas, Paro is one of the world’s most challenging airports for pilots. Indeed, only eight pilots in the world are currently certified to land here. Located in a deep valley, landing involves negotiating a series of mountains, rapid descents and then a steep bank to the left immediately before the much-longed for landing.

Matekane, Lesotho

Located high in the mountains, take-offs here are not for the faint-hearted as lying at the end of Matekane’s bumpy airstrip is a 2,000ft drop and, depending on wind conditions, aircraft have been known not to make it into the air before reaching the end of the meagre 1,312ft runway.

Saba, Caribbean

Billed as one of the world's shortest runways, at approximately 1,300 feet long, pilots describe landing on this exposed strip of tarmac as more akin to touching down on an aircraft carrier. Aircraft must fly headlong towards a cliff before making a sharp bank to the left just before landing. The runway is located high above the surrounding ocean, with precipitous drops on three sides.

Sea Ice Runway, Antarctica

Carved into the sea ice off Ross Island annually, this 2.5-mile runway operates throughout much of the Antarctic summer. Pilots must avoid a heavy landing and stationary aircraft should be monitored closely to ensure they do not sink more than 10 inches into the ice.

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